Daily stock indices, monthly employment reports, and even quarterly data on the gross domestic product are insufficient indicators for answering this vital question: How well is the American economy providing acceptable growth in living standards for most households? EPI’s The State of Working America, 12th Edition looks broadly at available data and concludes that the answer is simply “not well at all.”

This is not because the economy has failed to grow, on average. National income has grown enough to substantially improve the fortunes for all. As the data reveal, however, it is the top 5, the top 1 and fractions of the top 1 percent that have received almost all the benefits of the economy’s growth.

The Great Recession: Causes and consequences

Economic ‘lost decades’: Weak growth for most Americans’ wages and incomes before and likely after the Great Recession

Extraordinarily unequal growth before the lost decade: Rising inequality blocks income and wage growth from 1979 to 2007

Today’s private economy: Not performing for middle-income Americans

Today’s economy: Different outcomes by race and gender

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